Our daughter, Jill, and her family are moving back to Carmel after eighteen years living in a remote town in western Oklahoma. We sure have missed them here, but we figured that Jill and Tom had made a decision to raise their son, Drew, several hours west of Oklahoma City. It’s too bad that they have missed so many family events and holidays throughout the years, but that is about to change.
Unfortunately, it’s a hot real estate market here – Jill and Tom have had a hard time finding a house. So, while Jill has been back in Oklahoma, we have been keeping an eye on the market and visiting all kinds of properties in the hopes of finding something that will suit their needs and provide a great school opportunity for Drew. Today, as we have done many times, we drove miles and miles looking at various neighborhoods and seeing what was for sale. In all honesty, it doesn’t do much good until Jill and Tom see the homes for themselves – Janet and I already have a home that we love. Of course, it is one of our prayers that they will enjoy their home as much as we love ours. But at least we have a handle on the market and what is selling in each neighborhood.
It occurs to me that with all the homes we have visited, we have seen the way that all kinds of families live. Some of them are neat and tidy, while others don’t seem to take pride in their ownership of property. Some have evidences of leading faith centered lives while it is clear that some of the other homes are occupied by families that really don’t care.
Jill has already been here several times since the beginning of the year to look for a family home. Her schedule has been very full when she is in town but she has had to balance her responsibilities back home with her desire to get everyone safely moved back to Carmel. Now that school is out for Drew, the time has come for Jill and Drew to get settled here while Tom, back in Oklahoma, finishes up packing and getting things ready for the move.
So, by the middle of the week, Jill and Drew will be moving in with us until they can secure a home for their family. Even though they visit us several times a year, for almost three weeks each time they come, this will be different. Because very shortly, they will no longer be returning to Oklahoma – they will be residents here in the area.
Whatever home they decide on, the truth of the matter is that Jill, Tom and Drew will have to deal with how their family is going to adjust to life here in Indiana. While Jill was raised here, Tom and Drew are natives of Oklahoma and I’m sure there will be an adjustment for them. However, that adjustment can be minimized by making sure that they continue to lead faith based lives. In fact, they have already picked a home church – the church where our oldest daughter, Kristin, is on staff. Drew has attended Vacation Bible School there for the past several years and so he is already familiar with the lay of the land.
Jill, Janet and I have also volunteered each year so we are also dialed into the church community. That makes a transition so much easier, especially for Drew. Having a dedication to a Christ centered life is probably the most important aspect of keeping things in perspective. Especially in times of high stress, during a job change, or a move, keeping focused on God can make all the difference.
The Scriptures are full of references to houses. Sometimes, a reference is made to the house of Israel or keeping a house in order. But Joshua, the leader who took the Israelites into the Promised Land after the death of Moses, had a unique problem to deal with. He was faced with people who didn’t necessarily choose to worship God. Some of them longed to worship false gods or the gods of their enemies. Of course, Joshua had to take a stand – and he chose to stand with the Lord. In fact, that is our verse for tonight.
Joshua knew that he had to be bold and set a good example for others to follow. He challenged the people to make a decision. Who did they want to follow? He tells us, in Joshua 24:15, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua was bold in his faith. He chose that he and everyone in his house would serve the LORD. My encouragement this evening is that God rejoices when we choose to worship Him. My prayer is that as you live your life, you will have the same boldness as Joshua did to proclaim that you and your house will serve God as well. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…